The PET bottle the bottle
consumers know as #1 soda bottles was patented in 1973 by chemist
Nathaniel Wyeth, brother of distinguished American painter Andrew
The first PET bottle was
recycled in 1977.
The average household
generates about 17 pounds of used PET bottles each year. That is equal
to the amount of used aluminum.
Eight two-liter bottles
equals about a pound of PET.
When PET bottles are crushed
and tied into 48-inch bales, one bale can hold about 4,800 bottles and
weighs about 1,200 pounds.
How is PET recycled?
Five PET bottles yield
enough fiber for one extra-large T-shirt or one square foot of carpet.
(Half of all polyester carpet manufactured in the United States is made
from recycled plastic bottles.)
bottles can make one sweater.
Five two-liter PET bottles
yield enough fiberfill for a ski jacket.
It takes 35 two-liter PET
bottles to make enough fiberfill for a sleeping bag.
Used milk jugs (#2 HDPE)
(like those green plastic park benches)
Base cups for soda bottles
Toys, pails and drums
Traffic barrier cones
The American Plastics
Council reports that consumers recycled almost half of all PET soda
bottles produced in 1994. About one-quarter of all milk jugs were
Recycling: The Next
No one can predict what the
next generation of recycling research and engineering will bring. Young
engineers really young engineers are already contemplating the
question. If this report from eighth-grader Nick Gidzak of Polar Bay,
Manitoba, Canada, is any indication, the skys the limit.
Recycling Plastics and
Mixing It With Cement to Make Bricks
This year, I entered my
school science fair and got a silver medal for this project. I went to
the divisional science fair and got a gold medal and the engineering
award. When I went to the Manitoba Schools Science Symposium, I got an
outstanding project award by the Professional Engineering Society of
For my project, I cut up
plastic milk cartons and plastic two-liter pop containers and mixed this
with cement to make bricks. I made three bricks with different amounts
of plastic mixed with cement. The first brick was made with the most
plastic. The second had half as much. The last brick had no plastic.
After I made the bricks, I
left them outside for four months. It snowed, rained and was sunny.
After four months, I brought them inside. I then pumped water over the
bricks for two weeks. The water wore away the bricks and show how much
erosion effect it did. The results were that the brick with the most
plastic mixed in showed the least amount of erosion.